Patsy ColemanMs. Patsy Coleman, student council adviser at Northwood High School in Lena, LA has been named the 2014 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year.  The award was presented to Ms. Coleman during the 2014 NASC National Conference that was held in Orlando, FL in late June.  The annual award is named for Warren E. Shull, the founder of NASC and recognizes high school student council advisers of exemplary character, leadership and commitment to young people and who foster their development as student leaders.

Ms. Coleman is a vocational business teacher at Northwood and has been a student council adviser for 41 years. Her leadership and the work of her student council have been recognized at the local state and national levels. Under Ms. Coleman’s guidance, the Northwood High School council has been very successful hosting a wide variety of activities that improve school spirit, support needs in the community, and help develop students as leaders.  A prime example is the student council’s annual Sunrise/Sunset project.  The Sunrise portion of the event takes place on the first day of school and is an opportunity for seniors to talk about their goals and expectations of the coming school year. Sunset happens on the last day of school when seniors gather to reflect on their school memories and talk about new goals, and what lies ahead after graduation.

Ms. Coleman began her tenure at Northwood High School in 1994 where she quickly discovered that the school had no student council. Wasting no time, she approached the principal for permission to start a new student council and upon getting the go-ahead, pulled students together to begin the process. A cornerstone of Ms. Coleman’s philosophy for student council is the role of student council to bring other student organizations together and tap into their strengths and engage more students. This is evidenced in her council’s cooperation with the FFA club to work jointly in maintaining flower and vegetable beds around the Northwood campus. This cooperation extends to community groups too through their partner-in-education program.

As Ms. Coleman’s work as the Northwood adviser did not go unnoticed at the state level. She is actively involved with the Louisiana Association of Student Councils in numerous capacities. For more than 20 years, she served as the LASC District VII Adviser which includes over 75 schools and hosts a one day workshop each year. Ms. Coleman has shared her talents as a presenter at state and local conferences and serves as the Director of Women at the LASC summer workshop where she oversees the nearly 500 girls who attend.

For her efforts locally and at the state level, Ms. Coleman has been recognized by LASC as the Adviser of the Year and by the Life Share Blood Center as the Drive Chairperson of the Year. In 2002, she was recognized as the Region 8 winner of the Earl Reum Award. Ms. Coleman has also received honors for her work in the classroom, being named a Wal Mart Teacher of the Year in 2008 and Central Louisiana Best Teacher in 1994 among others.

Ms. Coleman’s talents spread to the national audience when she began contributing to NASC, serving as a program counselor for a National Student Leadership Camp and the Century III program NASSP once sponsored.  In 1987, Ms. Coleman was an adult leader in an NASSP activity that 45 student leaders to Europe. More recently, she has served on the NASC National Advisory Council as a member and adult cochair.

To Ms. Coleman’s expertise as an education and impact on the school, Dr. Dana Nolan, Principal of Northwood High School explains, “Her enthusiasm, her innovativeness, and her genuine concern for the development of student leaders are exemplary. Her flexibility in working with students, teachers, and parents has earned her an enviable reputation as an excellent teacher who truly cares about our students. Under her leadership we have invigorated the Career and Technical Education department at NHS, which will lead to the increased number of Industry Based Certifications for our students.  Mrs. Coleman demonstrates the highest level of professional commitment and competency in her work with students and colleagues.”

Ronald Bordelon, Northwood High School President reflected on the influence that Ms. Coleman had on his growth as a leader by saying, “Through the journey with Mrs. Coleman, I have learned many important things. One, it is better to give help than receive it. With her leadership, she has made me realize the value of being a leader. Ms. Coleman does not give up; she keeps going until she reaches her goals. She took time away from her family and friends to join us at leadership camp were we learn to become stronger leaders. If I had to choose someone in life to follow it would be Mrs. Coleman. She is a true mentor for all of our students. Ms. Coleman doesn’t break and fall; she keeps climbing that ladder, getting stronger and stronger.”

For being a role model and mentor to her students, for encouraging student leaders to reach out and help others, and for a career-long commitment to student council at the local, state and national levels, NASC congratulates Ms. Patsy Coleman on being named the 2014 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year and wishes her continued success in her efforts to foster and develop leadership through quality student council programs.